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What is an Ex Parte Hearing?


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I'm being sued by an OC and I happened to notice the other day that there is a Motion Hearing scheduled in my case and it says 'Ex Parte'. The hearing is scheduled for next week and I haven't received anything in the mail saying that I am required to show up for a hearing.

Here's the history of my case:

Served with summons in late August

Filed a Motion for a More Definite statement (same as BOP)

Trial date was set, without ruling on my motion

Sent letter electing arb to Plaintiff's lawyer a few days later

Filed a Motion to Dismiss/Stay a few days after that

Filed my answer, listing election of arbitration as defense the same day

About a week later, noticed an "Ex Parte" hearing had been set

What could this mean?

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An ex parte judicial proceeding is conducted for the benefit of only one party. Ex parte may also describe contact with a person represented by an attorney, outside the presence of the attorney. The term ex parte is used in a case name to signify that the suit was brought by the person whose name follows the term.

You may want to read more:

ex parte legal definition of ex parte. ex parte synonyms by the Free Online Law Dictionary.

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Basically only one party has to show up. Ex Parte communications of all types are typically heavily regulated once an action has commenced. Do you know what the hearing is about?

No, I don't know what the hearing is about. That's why I'm wondering what this means. I don't know why there would be an Ex Parte hearing.

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An ex parte judicial proceeding is conducted for the benefit of only one party. Ex parte may also describe contact with a person represented by an attorney, outside the presence of the attorney. The term ex parte is used in a case name to signify that the suit was brought by the person whose name follows the term.

You may want to read more:

ex parte legal definition of ex parte. ex parte synonyms by the Free Online Law Dictionary.

Thanks. I looked up the definition. My question really isn't about the definition of "Ex Parte" as much as why would there be a hearing "Ex Parte" in this case.

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They are supposed to notify you of the hearing. Call the court and see what it is about. Make plans to attend the hearing and prepare based on the reason the court or plaintiff says.

Dont allow them more time to get the more definite statement.

let us know what it is.

1. It could be a motion for more time to answer definite statement.

2. It could be a hearing to substitute attorney

3. It could be a that they need more time to answer all the other motions.

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You as the other person in the suit have the right to file an objection to the ex parte motion.

If the court continues and makes order ex parte you also have the right to file an objection to the ex parte order.

Let us know exactly what the ex parte motion is for and if you feel they should not be granted the ex perte motion we can help to write an ex parte objection.

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As long as you show up you will have the chance to object to anything brought up. I think ex parte would be more for personal reasons, like replacing their attorney, where you wouldn't normally object.

What I would be worried about is your election of arbitration. You had already file at least one motion and the trial was set. Arbitration is something that should be the first thing to appear in court and way before a trial date is set. Otherwise the other party will argue that you already chose the court venue and relinquished your right to arbitrate.

I would go to the hearing with motions that you filed in hand and take the oportunity to bring them up as long as all of you are there anyway.

Don't be a bit surprised if the arbitration issue comes up from the other party.

Edited by Downto0
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Thanks for all the replies. I think it might be just substituting attorneys. The suit was filed by an out-of-state attorney but the response to my motion for more definite statement was filed by a local attorney. I was wondering then why I didn't receive notice of the change in attorney. That probably is what that hearing is for. I'm going to go down there tomorrow and find out (I've found they're much more helpful face-to-face).

I'll keep you all posted. Thanks!

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As long as you show up you will have the chance to object to anything brought up. I think ex parte would be more for personal reasons, like replacing their attorney, where you wouldn't normally object.

What I would be worried about is your election of arbitration. You had already file at least one motion and the trial was set. Arbitration is something that should be the first thing to appear in court and way before a trial date is set. Otherwise the other party will argue that you already chose the court venue and relinquished your right to arbitrate.

I would go to the hearing with motions that you filed in hand and take the oportunity to bring them up as long as all of your are there anyway.

Don't be a bit surprised if the arbitration issue comes up from the other party.

A motion for a more definite statement just basically says "I don't have a clue what you're talking about...I need you to refile your complaint, with more information". It has to be requested before the answer is filed. I don't think it should hurt my election of arbitration (I hope). The way I see it, they filed a complaint that was insufficient so I asked for some clarification. I didn't get that (the judge never ruled on my motion), but there was a credit card agreement attached to their complaint so I want to exercise the arbitration clause in that agreement.

What do you think?

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You could call the other party, as someone else suggested, and ask. However, I would not trust their answer and show up in court anyway.

It shouldn't be on the election of arbitration because this is something which you would have a say in, unlike the other party switching lawyers. I brought up the arbitration issue because, according to your chronicling of events, trial has been set.

The confusing thing is that you seemed to have elected arbitation after the trial was set. You also seemed to have sent your Answer after the trial was set. This must be some sort of amended Answer where you belatedly elected arbitration?

OC's generally fight arbitration tooth and nail even though they wrote it into their own contract. I would expect a battle on this issue.

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I went to the court house today and the clerk said that the Ex Parte hearing is just so that the judge can review the case and that neither party will be there. Has anyone ever heard of anything like that before? How can there be a hearing with neither party present? Why would the Judge have to schedule a hearing, and put it on the docket, just to review the case by himself??

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The confusing thing is that you seemed to have elected arbitation after the trial was set. You also seemed to have sent your Answer after the trial was set. This must be some sort of amended Answer where you belatedly elected arbitration?

No, it's not an amended Answer. I think the Judge erred by not ruling on my Motion for a More Definite Statement. (I was going to use that as grounds for an appeal, if it went that far).

In Ohio, you have 28 days from the date you were served to file your answer. According Rule 10(D) of the Ohio RCPs "When any claim is founded on an account or other written instrument, a copy thereof must be attached to the pleading." I found multiple cases that have held that, in order to be in compliance with Rule 10(D) "An account must show the name of the party charged. It begins with a balance, preferably at zero, or with a sum recited that can qualify as an account stated, but at least the balance should be a provable sum. Following the balance, the item or items, dated and identifiable by number or otherwise, representing charges, or debits, and credits, should appear. Summarization is necessary showing a running or developing balance or an arrangement which permits the calculation of the balance claimed to be due."

If the Plaintiff's complaint doesn't comply with Rule 10(D), then a Motion for a More Definite Statement can be filed but ONLY if it is filed before you file an answer. If the motion is granted then the Plaintiff has 14 days to refile their complaint. Then the Defendant gets another 28 days, after the amended complaint is filed, to file an answer.

But in my case, instead of ruling on my motion, the Judge re-assigned the case to a Magistrate and set a trial date. I filed my motion in plenty of time for it to be ruled on before my answer was due, but there never was a ruling on it. I waited until the last possible minute and then filed my answer, just because I didn't want them to go for an SJ.

I was hoping to get it kicked out with the MMDS, like I've done before. But, since the Judge never ruled on that motion, I had to go ahead and submit an answer. And, in that answer, I used the arbitration clause from the credit card agreement that was attached to the Plaintiff's complaint as a defense.

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You could do a courts online search and see if judges have done this sort of thing in the past. Otherwise, it doesn't look threatening but I'd still take my papers down to the court house on the hearing date and inform the judge that I would be right outside if he had any questions.

Edited by Downto0
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I went to the court house today and the clerk said that the Ex Parte hearing is just so that the judge can review the case and that neither party will be there. Has anyone ever heard of anything like that before? How can there be a hearing with neither party present? Why would the Judge have to schedule a hearing, and put it on the docket, just to review the case by himself??

anything with the case. They usually schedule time for doing that. It could also be that the clerk reminded him that he forgot to rule on the MMDS and he is correcting his mistake.

Did you reference the non ruling in your answer? maybe that triggered all this. Be prepared to argue in case he calls for information. I would try to be close to the phone if you can.

good luck

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